Green Room

Entitlement reform is not a compromise; it’s what Obama promised America

posted at 11:59 am on July 15, 2011 by

Ace raises another great point his morning on Twitter and at AoSHQ: While Pres. Obama pretends that entitlement reform would be part of his “bargain” on the debt ceiling, it’s not a compromise at all. Rather, candidate Obama promised Americans entitlement reform.

In fact, during his second nationally televised debate with John McCain, Obama said he’d like to act within two years, but certainly by the end of his term. And he did not drop the subject immediately after the election. Here he is in January 2009:

President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare “bargain” with the American people, saying that the nation’s long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.

That discussion will begin next month, Obama said, when he convenes a “fiscal responsibility summit” before delivering his first budget to Congress. He said his administration will begin confronting the issues of entitlement reform and long-term budget deficits soon after it jump-starts job growth and the stock market.

“What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further,” he said. “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”

Ah, yes… the “fiscal responsibility summit.” Here’s what Pres. Obama said on that historic occasion:

We cannot and will not sustain deficits like these without end.

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration or the next generation.

We are paying the price for these deficits right now. In 2008 alone, we paid $250 billion in interest on our debt: One in every 10 taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spend on education that year; more than seven times what we spent on V.A. health care.

So if we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road. As our interest payments rise, our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes and our children and our grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because their saddled with our debts.

That’s why today, I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office. Now, this will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we’ve long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taken responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.

Accordingly, Pres. Obama should not be allowed to pretend as though he is giving anything up in the debt ceiling negotiations. Congressional Republicans are simply giving the president the chance to fulfill his campaign promise to the American people — one he has thus far failed to keep (this year’s deficit may exceed last year’s). You’re welcome, Mr. President.

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